How Do I Get My Child to Do and Turn in His Homework??

Updated on March 06, 2008
J.O. asks from Austin, MN
9 answers

My 14 year old son is in 9th grade. Since the 6th grade we have been battling him to get him to turn his school work in. He is not struggling academically. He is in honors Math, Language arts, Science and History. These classes are not to hard for him! We have tried not allowing him to be in these honors classes, but it only makes things worse, then he will not do anything. He is also a very good cello player and is in the choir. He loves his music and everything he does revolves around it. He wants to go to Julliard after high school. We allow him to get private lessons, he sings in the adult choir at church and he is in an octect with some of his classmates. He practices at school early on Wed-Fri mornings (Octect practice, chamber choir and chamber orchestra). He also plays in the local symphony...It is pretty cool as a parent to see your son play in concert with his teacher. This is a paid position so it is like a job.

I get phone calls when things are already late and he then gets half credit..which doesn't help his grades. We have tried agendas, he doesn't do it or will not bring it home. We have a website that we can check his assignments on and when questioned he says it is done or that it is in the basket at school. The problem is there is no reason why his work isn't getting done or turned in. He has plently of time and can easily do it. We have tried everything that we can think of as punishment. We are to the point we have to take away his music....I am really torn on this. I don't want to take away the good things ( Stuff we should be encouraging our kids to do) The teachers don't have any suggestions they are as stumped as I am. Anyone been through this that maybe would give me some suggestions on what to do. We have been talking about not letting him participate in the last symphony concert for this season..the director was a teacher and does understand our situation. Help..Help...Help...

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all you have given some suggestions. We have decided to take away his choir to start with. I made him call the director and tell her that he couldn't participate in choir for a while. He was very upset and embarrased. We have also let him know that if things do not improve we will be taking away his symphony. I am hoping that he understands that this is serious now and will get his work completed. So far the last two days he has brought homework home and done it. Infact he said to me tonight how good it felt today to turn his work in on time. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi J.
I dont know if you can with your daycare, but have you thought about going to school and sitting in all his classes to make sure he turns his work in. I am sure it would take one day and he would get all his work turned in so you dont come back. This worked wonderful for my nephew and his mom only had to threaten to do it to the youngest and he got his act togther also. Good Luck Teen years are so hard for everyone. T.



answers from Minneapolis on

first of all, please don't pay him or give little rewards for doing something that is his responsibility - it sends the message that he should only do what's required of him in life if there's something in it for him. After all, do you get $2 each time you pick up groceries or fill the car with gas or cook dinner? Does the IRS send you five bucks when they get your tax return because you did it on time? No. He needs to learn that you do your responsibilities because they are YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES - period.

Have you discussed this problem with his teacher? Maybe get him an in-school tutor, or send him to Sylvan perhaps? Even if he doesn't need it, If he has to go to a tutor during study hall time or recess, lunch or after school - perhaps even Saturdays for awhile??? This might snap him out of it so he realizes turning things in on time is a much better deal than spending all of his downtime with a tutor.

I know it's painful to take away his music but if that's what it takes, do it. You are not hurting him - you are helping him. Good luck.



answers from Grand Rapids on

J., hahaha i dont know when you find an answer let me know, hahahah no but seriously you mentioned you did not want to take away his music, if it were football and failing classes they surely would take it away, my son had a paper route and was doing same thing, no homework, etc, i had to take that away for him to do his, at that time, but sit down and discuss it with him, let him know you want to do a trial thing, for one month if you dont pull up grades and homework this and or that is going, then follow through, he loves music that much he will do it , and he will get his music back , its ok to take it away , let him prove himself, and then he will be happier too withou parents on his back telling to do this or that, he is old enough to start being a bit more mature, and doing things that prove he is mature, like homework, keep smiling and keep working on it, our education is important, important things first , fun later, D. s



answers from Minneapolis on

Your son seems very very gifted like highschool isn't for him. Sounds like he's bored. Have you tried talking to the school about accelerating him into a program or another grade level? There should be something they can do to challenge him.

I say you either start babying him and have daily contact with the teachers and check his backpack nightly and follow up to make sure every little piece of homework is done


take his music away from him



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi J.,

I went through that with my boy. It started his freshman year, too. He got all A's in class, but never did the homework. When he did it was worth 1/2 or 1/4 credit. Which would always put him in the C's & D's grades.

I put together an assignment sheet that had to be signed daily from each teacher for every class he had and he had to bring his homework home for me too, so that I knew it was done. That lasted a few months, then he was doing better on his own writing down his assignments.

If everything was turned in he could go out that weekend. Otherwise he was grounded.

It was sophmore year that he really got things in gear. He wanted to get his driver's license so bad, that he did whatever it took to get them. He made A's across the board.

Junior year, he started slacking off again. The teachers all knew he could do, and he did do his assignments, he just forgot to turn them in.

Senior year, he got some things turned in, the missing assignments caught up to him. He almost didn't graduate. he had to take an extra class to get caught up, but he did graduate with his class.

Now, he's turning 21 this May, and starting college.

I can share with you one thing I've learned, there's our time & then there is God's time. Every child is different and unique. I wasn't about to scream and hollar at him because he didn't get his work done. I knew he was a bright child. And I also knew he could do what ever he wanted if he chose to. Well after high school he had some odd ball jobs, and he's 21 and not making the kind of money that he wants. Sometimes learning on their own is the only way they are going to learn. Now he's making life changes. And I know he's going to great, because he doesn't want to go back to what he was doing.

If your son is talented with music then that is his calling. There are so many people in this world that were horrible in school, like Albert Einstein, to name one. But look who he turned out to be. Your son is just destined for greater things! Sounds like he's an impressive young man! Congratulations!!




answers from Minneapolis on

I don't have school age children, but I've heard some parents paying their children based on their grades. $20 for A, $15 for B, etc. So, you could maybe do this for daily assignments somehow just to reward him for turning in his work, and if it's truely easy for him, he'll just get paid for turning in his easy daily work. Maybe like 2 bucks or 2 bucks a day or something like that? That just might be some incentive for him because he'll be rewarded and can spend his reward on something cool for himself.



answers from Bismarck on

J.: I don't have teenagers yet (thank the Lord, I'm not ready!), but the one thing that works the best with our boys is reward reward reward good behavior. If music is his life I'm sure he has iTunes he wants to download and maybe even special symphonic groups he'd love to see perform in either Rochester or even Minneapolis.

He has to take responsibility for his choice to not turn in his homework. But you can offer small rewards for daily success that build on each other into something grand (maybe by the end of the school year).

Could he just be unmotivated, bored even in his honors classes? My husband was unmotivated in high school--earning mainly Cs, not because he couldn't do the work, but because he was just bored. When he got to college and the work was "his" level he excelled!

Hope this offers some help to you!




answers from Lincoln on

Is there a learningRx in your area? Please go and get him tested. I am a trainer at a learningRx and have helped motivate a lot of students. At least go and get him tested to see where your son may lack in some cognitive skills. (this is not tutoring) The test is will get to see areas where he excels and areas where he may be a bit behind. I have had a lot of skeptical parents at first, but then they turn around after a few weeks of training and love it! Students are not struggling with homework anymore and report cards are awesome! Most of the parents that I have talked to say that it went from battles every night about homework to not even having to say anything because their child will just get it done.
its worth a shot. Let me know if you have any other questions!



answers from Minneapolis on

here's my take for what it's worth. He's in high school. Getting his homework done and turned in is something for him to worry about--sounds as tho you are doing all of his worrying for him. :-)

I asked my daughter at that age when i came home for work if she had done her homework. she said she'd do it later. I said nothing and grabbed a book to read.

She wandered in 2 hours later and asked where dinner was. I asked her if she had done her homework. She said she hadn't. I asked why, she said she didnt feel like it. I responded, funny thing, i didn't feel like making dinner either. And returned to my book.

she got the message. LOLOL